Can you improve on "It sucks but do it anyway" as a musical mantra?
April 26, 2013 9:11 AM   Subscribe

Looking for motivational songs that lyrically acknowledge tedium or lack of willingness to get something done while telling you to suck it up, in the vein of (previously on MeFi) "Do It Anyway" by Ben Folds Five. Need to be able to chant the refrain while, e.g., getting out of bed early to go work out. Has to have a driving beat, of course.
posted by psoas to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (22 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I can't believe I am going to say this, but "Tubthumping" by Chumbawumba?
posted by Rock Steady at 9:16 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

I really, really like INXS's The Stairs for this. It kind of re-casts your own ordinary struggle as a sort of heroic thing - and reminds you that each and every one of us is engaging in that same kind of heroic struggle all the time, all around each other, and you don't even know it half the time and that's what makes people so noble, dammit...

Great Big Sea's Ordinary Day is also good for this. It may sound a bit more "up" lyrically than you were looking for, but it's definitely got a beat....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:20 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

One that pushes me from the other side (i.e. as a warning against complacency and inaction) is a short spoken phrase from Bowie's "Earthling" CD:

"In a house, a man drops dead. As he hits the ground, he sighs, 'What a morning.'"

It's haunted me ever since I heard it and I do try to keep it in mind.

Flaming Lips, "The Gash" gets me this way too. "Is that gash in your leg really why you have stalled? Cause I've noticed -- all the others have a gash. They're still running..." i.e. sure you've got problems. Don't we all. CARRY ON.
posted by Infinity_8 at 9:27 AM on April 26, 2013

A LOT of hip-hop fits this - first two that came to my mind:

2Pac - Keep Ya Head Up

Kanye West - Through the Wire (rapping from a guy whose jaw was literally wired shut at the time)
posted by UncleBoomee at 9:29 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

9 to 5,the ultimate morning alarm tone.
posted by Erasmouse at 9:31 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Tubthumping as covered by They Might Be Giants always seems even more motivational than the original.

Also, the marching band version of OK Go's This Too Shall Pass.
posted by artychoke at 9:40 AM on April 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

I'm a cynic, so I approach it from a slightly different direction. My mantra in these cases is Work Song, by Dan Reeder.
posted by griseus at 9:45 AM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

This doesn't precisely match your criteria, but it's within the realm I think and is catchy as hell:

OK Go, What To Do
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:26 AM on April 26, 2013

Pick Yourself Up
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:26 AM on April 26, 2013

How about This Year, by the Mountain Goats? Unfortunately, this has been my anthem for the last several years.
posted by Polyhymnia at 10:36 AM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

So & So So & So from Wherever Wherever by Built to Spill, Walking to Do by Ted Leo
posted by current occupation: at 10:59 AM on April 26, 2013

The Righteous Path - Drive By Truckers

I'm trying to keep focused as I drive down the road
On the ditches and the curves and the heavy load
Ain't bitching bout things that aren't in my grasp
Just trying to hold steady on the righteous path

posted by platinum at 12:04 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ammunition by The Blacks
posted by smuna at 12:22 PM on April 26, 2013

This is a little cheesy, but "Get Over It" by The Eagles always works for me.
posted by missjenny at 4:53 PM on April 26, 2013

Tom Waits' "Come On Up to the House":

All your crying don't do no good
Come on up to the house
Come down off the cross
We can use the wood
Come on up to the house

(terrible video but you can hear the song)
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:00 PM on April 26, 2013

i know you asked for an answer of the musical persuasion, but one phrase that has kept me going recently is I DOUBT IT, BUT I DO IT. i love word play and the fact that this mantra is an anagram somehow makes me feel powerful and some amount of autonomy in situations where i'm doing precisely what i wouldn't do if i really thought about it. hope this helps...
posted by alice ayres at 7:20 PM on April 26, 2013

The Pixies - Gouge away

gouge away
you can gouge away
stay all day
if you want to
posted by piyushnz at 8:54 PM on April 26, 2013

So many good songs (and a couple of favorites I hadn't even considered in that light--oh, I love "The Stairs" and everything OK Go), but man, that Ted Leo kid is going places!
posted by psoas at 5:23 PM on May 5, 2013

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